How Much You’re Saving Still Working From Home

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Thanks to the pandemic, 2020 was the year that more people began working remotely from home than ever before.

According to the Pew Research Center, before COVID-19 only 1 in 5 people reported working remotely. After the pandemic hit, 71% of the people they surveyed worked from home. This not only provided many workers schedule flexibility and freedom they did not have when working on-site, it saved both companies and individual employees money.

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According to U.S. News, in February 2021, more than half of Americans surveyed by Gallup stated they were still working from home and 17% said they’d like to continue even after things open up again. Those who continue to work at home will be able to keep saving money in the following ways.

Commuting Costs

The costs of driving your car to and from work, even if it’s a short commute, definitely add up over time. According to HowMuch.net, on average, commuters spend between $2,000 and $4,000 per year on transportation costs alone.

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Gas Costs

According to FlexJobs.com, even if your commute is just 10 miles one way to work, assuming you fill up only once per week, with 20 miles to the gallon and the average price of gas being $2.60 per gallon, you’d spend $624 per year just on gas related to work.

See: Before It Became the Norm, Which States Had the Most Remote Workers?

Car Insurance Premiums

If you are no longer using your car for commuting purposes, many insurance providers will offer a reduced rate on insurance, according to AutoInsurance.org — sometimes as much as 30%. Part of the reason is that the statistics work in your favor — less time on the road means less likelihood of an accident that will require your insurance provider to fork out any cash on your behalf. Lower rates are the result.

Coffee Costs

That favorite latte or mocha you used to get out of the house when you worked in an office may seem like a minor expense, and so worth it, but it turns out that coffee out adds up big time. According to Time.com, which ran the numbers, if you have two cups of Starbucks coffee per day, at the U.S. average of $2.75 (and that’s on the low side for many of their drinks), you’d spend upwards of $2,000 per year. In contrast, a regular coffee pot averages out to about 0.03 cents per cup, or about $45 per year. So making your coffee at home could be saving you big.

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Eating Out for Lunch Costs

When you worked in an office, you probably had to either bring your own food or pick it up somewhere. Eating out tends to be the easier option for its convenience and efficiency. According to the Bureau of Labor Services, as of 2018 (its most recent findings), consumers spent $3,459 on food “away from home.” Staying in and making your own lunch adds up to huge savings.

The Cost of Formal/Work Clothes

In the year or so that many people have been working remotely due to the pandemic, the “uniform” of the home worker has shifted considerably, when most of your colleagues only ever see you from the shoulders up. Working in many in-person jobs requires “work clothes,” which can range from business casual to very professional clothing.

According to FlexJobs.com, as of 2018, the average household cost of “apparel and services” was $1,866, which includes the cost of clothing and the cost to clean them.

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Environmental Costs

Though you can’t put a personal monetary value on saving the environment, the climate-related benefits of telecommuting personally affect all of us who live on this planet. Telecommuting reduces greenhouse gas emissions, lowers use of fossil fuels, decreases air pollution and reduces your carbon footprint, according to FlexJobs.com. The savings there return to everyone tenfold, even if you don’t see them directly in your wallet.

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Last updated: July 16, 2021

About the Author

Jordan Rosenfeld is a freelance writer and author of nine books. She holds a B.A. from Sonoma State University and an MFA from Bennington College. Her articles and essays about finances and other topics has appeared in a wide range of publications and clients, including The Atlantic, The Billfold, Good Magazine, GoBanking Rates, Daily Worth, Quartz, Medical Economics, The New York Times, Ozy, Paypal, The Washington Post and for numerous business clients. As someone who had to learn many of her lessons about money the hard way, she enjoys writing about personal finance to empower and educate people on how to make the most of what they have and live a better quality of life.

 

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